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Wednesday, 22 February 2012


I couldn't follow the plot of Upstairs Downstairs on Sunday. I find this quite worrying. It's not like I was wrestling with the intricacies of Chekov or following something in a different language (which lets face it isn't going to happen unless there is an indepth French drama about directions). I was watching a Sunday night costume drama and I did not have a clue what was going on. Someone channelled Unity Mitford, a monkey was gassed and then someone was pointing out areas of low pressure over Birmingham. There is a small chance I fell asleep half way through and woke up during a different programme.

I think I have been spoilt by Downton Abbey. I know we're not meant to compare the two. They are entirely different programmes about life in the recent past and the lives of those both above and below stairs and how world events impact their lives. I followed Downton. I mean it helped that a caption would come up telling you that three years had passed and yet the characters would still be having the same conversations (sometimes in the same costumes). Time whizzed past so quickly there was people with massive beehives doing the twist outside the windows and the youngest daughter and the driver were still discussing their love.

Upstairs Downstairs however expected me to have brain power which is not sky high at the best of times and certainly not at 9pm on a Sunday. I had to remember who people were from the first three episodes, be aware of it's place in history and try and work out why they were gassing a monkey (I think it's because Eilleen Atkins has left the series and the monkey belonged to her, they may have also realised that working with animals is expensive and time consuming and therefore the best thing to do was gas the monkey). Expect anyone with an expensive costume or habit ('oh but I love champagne) to be taking a short trip headfirst down the stairs soon.

I am going to watch it again. I love a good costume drama and I adored the first round of Upstairs Downstairs. I (blushes modestly) am too young to remember the first time it was broadcast but I got the first series on video for my 21st (attempt to pretend I am young fails) and now it seems to be on ITV3 all the time. It's fabulous and I shall dedicate proper time to watching the new series rather than lounging in bed.

Friday, 17 February 2012


I possibly didn't make it clear in the last post that domestic violence goes both ways. Any violence isn't to be tolerated and there is a case that violence against men is trivialised. My main issue is irritating teenagers... and Chris Brown

Thursday, 16 February 2012


I was at the station the other night. I was nearly home and wandering across the concorse, a group of teenage girls, I'd guess they were about 14, were walking the other way. It's half term so I assume they were off some where fun and as teenagers are want to do they were bellowing their joy. There were the usual characters that make up a group. The incredibly loud, confident, pretty leader. Two girls, also pretty and willing to agree with whatever she says (shouts) and the dumpy one who is allowed to hang around because she occasionally makes them laugh and makes the others look good by comparison. (This sounds so bitter, you can guess which one I was). Anyway. Teenagers are annoying, we all know this. They shout their opinions and think they are hilarious. Depending on my mood I either enjoy listening to their 'dilemmas', which are always easy to follow as they are transmitted at volume and include so much detail. Or I just wish they'd shut up and spend my journey silently plotting their downfall. However on this occassion I was simultaneously worried for them and despising of them. And this is for why;

They were talking about Chris Brown.

Not his music (he'd just won a grammy and performed at the ceremony), no - loud confident girl (who was wearing shorts, in February) was loudly proclaiming the view that 'He's so fit he could hit me anytime.' One of the two pretty friends laughed and said 'Yeah he could hit me in the face and I wouldn't mind'. They all laughed and carried on walking.

Now I'm sure they thought they were being mature and ironic and we were all congratulating them on their irreverant and post modern humour. We weren't think that they were pathetic children who were broadcasting ideas that they have no idea about and were transmitting at a volume when they had no idea of their audience. Now I am glad that they have never experienced it and so do imagine it to be not that bad, I am terrified however that they think domestic violence is OK if the man is fit, that domestic violence is something to be dismissed and that domestic violence is a topic that is up for jokes.

It's not.

Domestic violence should be a subject that is discussed freely and openly. There should be no judgement on the victims and help should be sought and freely given. However domestic violence should be a taboo subject when it comes to humour. Oh I know the majority of people are joking and would no more dream of hitting their partner or kids anymore than they would think about going postal with a gun in a shopping centre, but there's the 1% that thinks that they are justified in going home and beating seven shades of shit out of their wife because they've had a bad day and it's that 1% that hears the jokes and uses them as a defence of their actions. Somethings are so horrendous that they should not be joked about. Humour justifies actions and makes unacceptable things palatable. Most of us, thank God, are far enough removed from things like this that we feel safe joking about them. Our family isn't affected therefore we can joke. But it's always someone's family that is being affected.

It also leads to girls coming out with comments like the girls at the train station. It breaks my heart. Not only because it's girls turning on other women and justifying violence against them, but it's girls betraying the rights that we have fought for. It's in living history that it became illegal for men to hit their wives. We fought long and hard not to be seen as our husbands property. These girls take these rights for granted and so abuse them. They need to know how we got to this point. We need to respect our past and band together so we don't go backwards.

And Chris Brown should just fuck off.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Mah Nah Mah Nah

I love the Muppets. Deeply. I am mildly distrusting of anyone who isn’t a fan. My biggest regret in life is of not making a Muppet when I visited FAO Schwartz. Christmas kicks off in style when I allow myself to watch ‘A Muppet Christmas Carol’. I am reduced to tears of laughter every time
I listen to the Rowlf classic ‘You and I and George’. I am reduced to tears every time I hear ‘The Rainbow Connection’. For some years I worked in the studios where the Muppets TV show was recorded. There’s a photo on the wall of all the Muppets on bikes. Sadly I missed the recording of the show by about 25 years or so but strangely my aunt worked on the Muppet show in those very studios. When my brothers and I were little and we would visit our grandparents (my aunt’s parents) we were given old copies of Muppet scripts to draw on the back off. My aunt was given a
Rizzo the Rat when she left the show and let us play with it so we used to act out the scripts we had with Rizzo and various other toys standing in for the other characters. We’d push two armchairs together (this also made a very good slide) and lay on the floor and do puppet shows from there.
My favourite Muppet is Rowlf. By virtue of the fact that he’s hilarious, has a great voice and can play the piano. Fozzie is up there but oddly I never had a huge amount of time for Kermit. I appreciated that he had to hold the show together, attempt to get Peter Sellers on the stage whilst he was having an existential crisis, fend off Miss Piggy’s advances and play the
banjo but I never really found him as appealing as the others. Then I saw the new Muppet film yesterday and reconsidered my choice.. Kermit is the greatest leading man ever.

The film itself is amazing. Despite the fact the cinema was filled with some of the most loud bastard children I have ever heard (note to parents, if your child is still rustling a paper bag at the end of the film, you’ve bought it too many sweets. Oh and note to the girl who answered her
phone – there’s a special place in Hell for people like you), it was an hour and a half of pure joy and Kermit was at the centre of it. His relationship with new Muppet Walter and his commitment to his friends recaptured the heart of the Muppets and oh, I’ll stop trying to analyse it, it was amazing.

Being a musical helped. I’ve never really got over my own life not being constantly interrupted with song and dance numbers. As a Flight of the Concords fan I loved the music throughout the film and as a bonus I got to hear ‘Rainbow Connection’ again.
My only question now is when I can go and see it again. I’ve been told by many people that today is too soon. I disagree but will bow to external pressure.

Friday, 3 February 2012

If Wishes Were Horses

The floatation of Facebook on the stock market and the news that several people are set to be billionaires prompted an office discussion of 'what would you do if you had 18 billion pounds'. Inevitably most of us could easily give away 17 and a half billion. Is there anything in the world you need that you can't get with 500 million? And if there is do you really want to have to maintain that lifestyle? I think I may have wittered something about travelling and paying for friends to come with me (and give up their jobs). I don't need to plan it too exactly.

However there are also things in life I fundamentally need and are becoming more pressing by the day. I need to make some money and fast. If only so I can maintain the life I have.

1. I need a PA. Not because I have such a fast paced, international life but because I am flawed. At work I am fine. Plan things, sort things, deliver things. Personal life - hmmmm. A case in point; my birthday. Failed to organise anything (not the first time). Eventually decide to rally the troops and go for lunch followed by the Muppet movie. Sorted. Except the film isn't out yet. So lunch it is!

2. I need an electric blanket. I am freezing. I am sleeping in pyjamas, hooded top, socks and gloves. The heating is on. I know I could buy an electric blanket easily. I have just not sorted myself and bought it (see note 1)

3. Paint. I need to paint the front door. This is because I have to kick it to open it

4. I need to fix the front door. So I don't have to kick it to open it

5. I need a Muppet. One of the biggest regrets in my life is not making one in FAO Shwartz

6. I need Irish breakfast tea. The best tea in the world and oddly not available over here.

I think when you look at all these things I'm fairly sorted. Therefore I don't need 18 billion. Good job too really